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Teen found guilty of Westclox arson

Posted by wlpo on October 10, 2012

A fire that burned for weeks at the old Westclox building in Peru will have a teen from La Salle spending time in prison.

17-year old Steven Gallacher was convicted Wednesday of aggravated arson for the New Year’s Eve fire that injured a La Salle firefighter.  The trial was a bench trial heard by Judge H. Chris Ryan.

Gallacher’s defense attorney, Louis Bertrand argued that the teen wasn’t guilty of aggravated arson because it was the firefighter’s fault, not Gallacher’s that he was injured.  Had the firefighter not been hurt Gallacher would have been charged with arson.

Gallacher will be sentenced on November 29.  He faces six to 30 years and would have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.  He could receive credit for the nearly 10 months he’s spent in the La Salle County Jail.

A 15-year-old boy from Peru also arrested for the blaze pleaded guilty in March and received five years of probation and 240 hours of community service.  He was charged as a juvenile while Gallacher was charged as an adult.

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